29 March 2012

Chicago city directories

Chicago's Newberry Library has a blog post that discusses the gaps and the ending of Chicago directories that I referenced in my own blog post yesterday about the 1940 census.

“Where are the rest of the city directories?” is a question heard frequently at the reference desk. Although the Newberry has a complete collection of Chicago City Directories, there are no directories in the microfilm drawer (or online) for 1918-1922 or from 1924-1928.

To read the full Newberry post click here.

28 March 2012

Finding addresses for the 1940 census search

I recently posted on Facebook that I am working on my family addresses in preparation for the 1940 census opening next week. A couple people sent me private messages asking how I was doing that. So, here are some tips.

  1. Did your family live in a city or town that published annual city directories? Don't know? Check the collections at a large city or county public library for these. The county or state historical society may also have the 1940 era directories in book form or on microfilm. You will need to make an in-person visit to view these. Don't forget that a 1940 directory might reflect a 1939 address. I have two ancestral families that moved a lot. I have gathered 1939, 40, and 41 city directory addresses for them.
  2. Some major libraries such as the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Library of Congress in Washington, DC, Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison, Wisconsin, and others have city directories for other cities in their onsite collections.
  3. Check the websites of places like libraries, historical societies, and big genealogy libraries in your family's various cities of residence to see if they have digitized 1940 era directories. 
  4. Ancestry.com, Fold3.com and other subscription website have some city directories.
  5. Other institutions and libraries have digitized directories including those for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Rochester, New York
  6. Check out the helpful United States Online Historical Directories links by Miriam Robbins.
  7. Some major cities such as Los Angeles and Chicago no longer had city directories published after the 1920s due to the size of the population. I need both of these cities for 1940!
  8. Other city directories for the time period we need for the 1940 census research are copyrighted publications and it takes time to get permissions to digitize. It also costs money for this project.
  9. Family photo albums, old letters, memories, birth or death certificates are just a few things the might provide a 1940s era address.
  10. If your family lived in a more rural area or small town, it will likely be easier to just look page by page in the town or township.
Armed with the address, then visit Steve Morse's website for the "Unified 1940 Census ED Finder (Obtaining the Enumeration District for a 1940 Location in One Step)." Using this will enable you to determine the Enumeration District in which your family lived.

For example it showed me that the St. Paul, Minnesota address where my paternal grandparents lived (Stuart, 2019 Princeton) is in E.D. 90-245. I don't have to look through the entire city of St. Paul to find them. I have it narrowed down to a segment of pages. My maternal grandaunts lived at 358 Marshall Avenue in St. Paul and they are in ED 90-131, or 133. My 14 year old mother is probably at 486 So. Hamline Avenue which is an apartment in ED 90-80. For those of you who know St. Paul, these apartments are above the Nook and across the street from Cretin High School (today Cretin-Derham Hall).

And those actual census searches can be done starting Monday, April 2d at several sites, including http://www.archives.gov/research/census/1940/

27 March 2012

Help index the 1940 Census so we can find people like these!

A 1940 article about the census enumeration for that year is titled "Census Recheck Total is 2,421" and that means people not originally enumerated in Dade County, Florida. How many times was this repeated around the United States? In this case, the census supervisor was forwarding the information to the census bureau.

Click here to read the full article in the Miami Daily News of Sunday, 7 July 1940, Section D, page 1, column 4.

Newspapers across the country carried articles into July of 1940 urging people to come forward if they had been missed. Others reported that school children were being instructed to make sure their families had been counted. The St. Petersburg Times of 27 June 1940 (page 5, column 4) said "Friday's Your Last Chance to Be Enumerated!"

The Prescott, Arizona Evening Courier of Monday, 29 July 1940, page 2, columns 3-4 even carried a coupon that you could fill out and send in. It stated that you had been missed! The newspaper would then send it to the state census supervisor. Now I wonder if anyone filled these in, were they actually added to the enumeration, and were these forms saved!

Were all the late additions added in the pages where the rest of their enumeration district was listed? Will we find them next week if we zero in on the enumeration district where we expect to find them? Are they on a later set of pages? This is why we need to index the census. Sign up today to help with the indexing. It's easy to do while sitting in your own home, at your computer, and in your fuzzy slippers. For more on the volunteer indexing project please click here.

All of these articles were accessed through Google News Archives.

26 March 2012

Be part of the 1940 census opening!

Just received this Press Release from the National Archives:
March 26, 2012

National Archives Launches 1940 Census April 2 Online at 1940census.archives.gov 
Live webcast of Opening Event, 8:30 A.M. EDT 

Follow the 1940 Census on Twitter (using hashtag #1940census), Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr, and YouTube, and subscribe to our blogs: NARAtions and Prologue: Pieces of History.

The launch event is open to the media and to a limited number of members of the public on a first come, first served basis, by emailing 1940census@nara.gov.

Washington, DC…Special ceremonial launch of the 1940 census. The National Archives’ largest single release of digitized records will be online at 1940census.archives.gov. For the genealogical community, the 1940 census is the most eagerly-anticipated records release in the past decade. Following remarks, the Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero will launch the first search.

Beginning April 2, 2012, users will be able to search, browse, and download the 1940 census schedules, free of charge, through the new 1940 census website:
1940census.archives.gov. National Archives partnered with Archives.com to build and host the site.

The launch event will be webcast live online starting at 8:30 A.M., please visit 1940census.archives.gov, closer to April 2 for the link.

WHO: Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero; U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert Groves; Archives.com Executive Vice President John Spottiswood; University of Maryland U.S. History Professor David Sicilia

WHEN:          Monday, April 2, 2012, 8:30 A.M.    
Electronic media preset 8:15 A.M.
WHERE: William G. McGowan Theater, National Archives Building, Washington, DC; Enter through Special Events entrance on Constitution Avenue and 7th Streets, NW
View the National Archives 3:13 minute video short on its YouTube channel (http://tiny.cc/1940Census) and on www.1940census.archives.gov. The video provides a “behind-the-scenes” look at staff preparations and gives viewers tips on how to access the 1940 census data. This video is in the public domain and not subject to any copyright restrictions. The National Archives encourages the free distribution of it.

Background on the 1940 Census
When the Founding Fathers mandated a decennial census in the U.S. Constitution, the intent was to use this as a basis to determine how many representatives each state was entitled to send to the U.S. Congress.  It is now a vital tool for Federal agencies in determining allocation of Federal funds and resources. The census is also a key research tool for sociologists, demographers, historians, political scientists and genealogists. Many of the questions on the 1940 census are the standard ones: name, age, gender, and race, education, and place of birth. But the 1940 census also asks many new questions, some reflecting concerns of the Great Depression. The instructions ask the enumerator to enter  a circled X after the name of the person furnishing the information about the family; whether the person worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps, Works Progress Administration, or National Youth Administration the week of March 24–30, 1940; and income for the 12 months ending December 31, 1939. The 1940 census also has a supplemental schedule for two names on each page. The supplemental schedule asks the place of birth of the person's father and mother; the person's usual occupation, not just what they were doing the week of March 24–30, 1940; and for all women who are or have been married, has this woman been married more than once and age at first marriage.
For the release of the 1940 census online, the National Archives has digitized the entire census, creating more than 3.8 million digital images of census schedules, maps, and enumeration district descriptions.

Citing a Tweet

The Modern Language Association has debated and published "How to Cite a Tweet." The moment I read their example, the first thought I had was "in 50 years will someone have a clue what 'Tweet' means?" I giggled a bit at the citation example:
Athar, Sohaib (ReallyVirtual). “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).” 1 May 2011, 3:58 p.m. Tweet.

I read about this in the American Historical Associations blog which gave me the link to the Modern Language Association's site.  Read the AHA post to see that many questions have arisen about the correctness of this citation. Good questions are being asked and references are given to other articles. The main questions relate to the provenance of the actual news in this example.

New archivist at Iron Range Research Center

According to the Duluth News Tribune, the Minnesota Discover Center's Iron Range Research Center has a new archivist. Christopher Welter formerly worked "in the archives at the Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul, where he described personal papers and business records, and assisted in making historically significant and rare collections available on the Web."

To read the article click here.

To learn more about the Iron Range Research Center click here.

The IRRC is located in Chisholm, Minnesota and is a great place for research.

Minnesota societies involved in 1940 Census Indexing

I just checked the website to see which Minnesota based organizations are involved in the project to index the 1940 U.S. Census. I have signed up to index under the Minnesota Genealogical Society. I have been an MGS member since 1982 and continue to support their endeavors.

I was pleased to see a number of organizations from my home state are involved:

Anoka County Genealogical Society
Carlton County Genealogical Society
Crow Wing Genealogical Society
Freeborn County Genealogical Society
Germanic Genealogy Society
Kanabec Genealogical Society
Martin County Genealocical Society
Minnesota Genealogical Society
Olmsted County Genealogical Society
Otter Tail County Genealogical Society
Pine County Genealogical Society
Polish Genealogy Society of Minnesota
Stevens County Historical Society

What organizations from your state of residence or where your ancestors lived are involved? Click here to find out.

25 March 2012

Finding Your Roots on PBS tonight

Tonight marks the return of Henry Louis Gates' forays into family history research on PBS. "Finding Your Roots" debuts on PBS from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. (Central Time). The featured celebrities tonight are Harry Connick, Jr. and Branford Marsalis.

My couch and popcorn are the accompaniments for tonight's show. A big group of area genealogists and I tried to find a restaurant with a TV that would let us eat dinner together and watch the show. One place said we could sit in a private area and watch but they could not turn on the sound! We tried several places without success so we are eating dinner together earlier and then going to our separate homes to watch the show. It would have been nicer to watch as a group while we ate.

Today's Washington Post has a nice article about the show. Click here to read that.

For more on the series visit PBS here. Unfortunately the material under the Resources tab is seriously out-of-date and lacking in vital links such as NGS, FGS, APG, BCG, Cyndi's List, Ancestry, and others. It lists Footnote but that is now Fold3.com. The list doesn't include the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Dr. Gates is a Councilor for NEHGS! It lists Digital Genealogist which has not been published since 2009. It was a great publication.

There is so much out there for continuing education and research in genealogy that I was astounded to see what was under the resources tab. Hopefully PBS will get it updated with the information that I and several of my colleagues have forwarded to them. 

24 March 2012

I'm on FGS Radio Saturday, March 24th

Once again the Federation of Genealogical Societies My Society Radio is including a segment featuring speakers from its upcoming conference. The 2012 conference is in Birmingham, Alabama. If you tune in to FGS Radio via your computer on Saturday, March 24th, you will hear me featured as the segment kicks off. I will talk a bit about the lectures I am presenting at the FGS conference this August. Keep listening on future Saturdays for other featured speakers.

Ask an Editor: Publication Challenges to 21st Century Societies
Saturday, March 24, 2012
2-3pm Eastern US
1-2pm Central US
12-1pm Mountain US
11am-12pm Pacific US
Join us for the next episode of FGS Radio - My Society, an Internet radio show on Blog talk Radio presented by the Federation of Genealogical Societies. This week’s episode hosted by Randy Whited is entitled Ask an Editor: Publication Challenges to 21st Century Societies. Our first guest will be Matt Wright, Editor of the FGS FORUM. Matt and Randy will discuss challenges and successes for society publications.  Our next guest will be Paula Stuart-Warren, FGS Board member, as we start our series featuring speakers for the upcoming FGS 2012 Annual Conference in Birmingham.

 In addition, we’ll be featuring FGS member society, Northern Arizona Genealogical Society, in our weekly Society Spotlight feature. Tune in to FGS Radio – My Society each week to learn more about genealogy societies and join in a discussion of the issues impacting the genealogical community.

21 March 2012

Neat video about the National Archives preservation work

One of today's press releases from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration tells about a short video that takes us behind the scenes at NARA.

March 21, 2012
New National Archives Video Short Peeks Inside Archives State-of-the-Art Preservation Lab
Washington, DC… The National Archives today is releasing its latest Inside the Vaults video short, Boxing our Treasures, which takes viewers inside the National Archives preservation lab to see how archival treasures are lovingly and carefully housed in custom-made encasements. The three-minute video is part of the ongoing “Inside the Vaults” series and can be viewed on the National Archives YouTube channel:  http://tiny.cc/BoxesA2.

Every researcher should watch this. It's now one of my favorites in the NARA videos. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbnanuMhErU&feature=relmfu.

19 March 2012

1940 Census St. Paul, Minnesota Focus for me.

I won't be on the 1940 U.S. census when it is released on April 2d but both my parents will be on there. My dad will be among the workforce in St. Paul and my mother will be in the 8th grade at St. James grade school in St. Paul. The picture above is her 8th grade class. She is the girl with the longer hair and dress with jacket standing to the left of the George Washington picture. My high school Latin teacher is in the photo, too. The names of the students are listed on the reverse of the photo.

All four of my grandparents (Stuart & Hanley) will be in St. Paul as will five of my great grandparents (Stuart, Carlsen, Hanley, and Cook). Two of my other three great grandparents were on the 1930 census but died in 1932 and 1937. They died in St. Paul and one had died in 1905 in Winona, Minnesota. None of my great great grandparents are on the 1920, 1930, or 1940 censuses.

How many ancestors do you have alive then and who should be on the 1940 census? I look forward to all 11 of mine.

NGS Conference early-bird deadline is tomorrow!

I am registered. Are you? It's time to register for the 2012 NGS Family History Conference if you want to save some money! The deadline for the early-bird price is March 20. That is tomorrow, Tuesday. A

fter that, the cost for NGS members will increase from $175 to $210 for all four days. For non-NGS members, the  cost will increase from $210 to $245. If you wish to purchase a paper copy of the syllabus, that must be done no later than March 20th. You will still receive the syllabus on flash drive even if you order a print syllabus. After that date, only the flash drive syllabus will be available.

If you plan to sign up for a luncheon or other meal event, that has a deadline of April 24.

To register for the May 9-12 conference which will be held in Cincinnati, visit www.ngsgenealogy.org

2 weeks/3 weeks: A Genealogist's and Fan's Delight

I am looking forward to April. April 2 and April 9 to be exact. Two and three weeks from today.

April 2d
This is the day the 1940 U.S. decennial census is open for research. Not only does it open on Monday, April 2d, but it will be online and free. I mentioned this earlier but now that it's just two weeks away I am getting more excited. Was my maternal grandfather in the U.S. or was he in another country? Was his brother in jail? Was my father-in-law in New Mexico, Montana, Minnesota, or where? For more info on the census and the website to view it, check the National Archives website. I signed up to be a volunteer indexer and I hope that all my readers will join me in this. How quickly can we accomplish this task and how accurately? Sign up here. This project is sponsored by FamilySearch, brightsolid, and Archives.com.

Click here for a detailed listing of the questions asked on this census and for special explanatory notes. I am looking forward to seeing how many children each of my grandmothers had given birth to but it won't include

15 March 2012

Current Plat Book for St. Louis County, Minnesota

The 2012 editions of the St. Louis County Minnesota Land Atlas and Plat Books are now available. This county is in Northeastern Minnesota and runs north to the Canadian border. Duluth, Hibbing, Hermantown, Chisholm, Ely, Eveleth, and the famous Embarass are some of the cities in this beautiful county. It also includes parts of Superior National Forest, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, and Voyageurs National Park. The southeast part of the county borders Lake Superior.

Because of the vast land that this county covers, there are two parts, one for the northern half and another for the southern half. The books show detailed land ownership and property size, along with roads, lakes, section boundaries, and other reference data.

For purchase details in today's Duluth News-Tribune click here. Or visit the county website here.

11 March 2012

Spell it out. Pls. Thx.

While working on some family history research today while writing an article I was frustrated by abbreviations that I find online and in books. So, here comes my soapbox for the day. Please spell out the words. Isn't your family history important enough to do that? If someone is looking for ancestors in a specific state but your abbreviation makes them think it's the wrong state, you may have just missed out on meeting the person who has the family bible.

  • NE is the postal abbreviation for Nebraska, not Nevada 
  • AK is the postal abbreviation for Alaska, not Arkansas
  • Do you mean city or county when you state "cty" and this does cause geographic angst.
  • Do you and whoever reads your material in the future know the difference between ms, mss, Miss? [In my world, mss is an abbreviation for manuscript; ms is the postal abbreviation for the state of Mississippi, not Massachusetts; and Miss is a designation for a a non-married female]

08 March 2012

FamilySearch keeps growing by giant steps

Today's press release from FamilySearch relates that "FamilySearch added 31 million new, free records online this past week for Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Hungary, Italy, Micronesia, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, and the U.S. What a bonus for those with California roots—over 24 million California birth records were added from 1905 to 1995. Search these and 2.5 billion other records now for free at FamilySearch.org."

When you arrive at the main page, scroll down to "Browse by Location" and click on a country name. That opens up a long list of digitized records and many indexes that are free for anyone to use. You may need to sign in to view some. It doesn't cost anything to become a registered user. While there you might consider signing up to help index some of the records that are images only!

I keep wondering about statistics of the FamilySearch website and I found what I needed on the bottom of this page: https://www.familysearch.org/news. It doesn't say when the statistics were last updated, but they are still fascinating. The  date the FamilySearch website made its debut was 24 May 1999. I remember that well.

Number of names in searchable databases:  Over 1 billion
Number of hits since launch:  Over 15 billion
Number of visitors since launch:  Over 150 million
Number of pages viewed since launch:  Over 5 billion
Number of hits per day:  Over 10 million
Number of visitors per day:  Over 50,000
Number of pages viewed per day:  Over 1 million
Number of registered users:  Over 1 million

02 March 2012

FGS Radio March 3d: Technology & Marketing

Join us for the next episode of FGS Radio - My Society, an Internet radio show on Blog talk Radio presented by the Federation of Genealogical Societies. The Saturday, March 3d show is "Technology & Marketing Workshop for Genealogy Societies."

This week's host is Thomas MacEntee and he will answer your questions about the latest in technology and marketing for your genealogy society. Call in your questions during the show at  +1 (619) 638-8565 or email